Helsley, a right-hander, had jammed the center finger of his pitching hand on Tuesday — he lost his balance after catching a line drive — but looked sturdy for 2 outs within the eighth. But he lost the texture for his pitches within the ninth, walking two batters and hitting Alec Bohm to force in a run.
Had there been two outs, Marmol said, he would have called for a strikeout pitcher, Jack Flaherty, to complete the sport. With one out, though, he summoned a ground-ball specialist, Andre Pallante, to attempt to get Segura to ground right into a double play.
The infielders played halfway, able to turn a double play on a hard-hit ball or fire home on something softer. The gamble was that Segura, a powerful contact hitter, might poke a grounder to the precise side, just hard enough to get through but just weak enough to present two runners time to attain.
That’s what happened, and the Phillies had seen it before.
“Classic Jean,” outfielder Nick Castellanos said. “He’s got tremendous hand-eye coordination, and he can put anything in play.”
At Wrigley Field in late September, Segura had been picked off when he wandered off first after losing track of the count; the Phillies were swept by the also-ran Chicago Cubs and gave the impression to be bungling their playoff probability.
They recovered to win 4 of their next five and clinch a wild card, and Segura rose on Friday with a transparent mind. His opportunity was finally here.
“I used to be ready today,” he said. “I woke up at 7 a.m. with adrenaline in my body knowing that I’m going to play a postseason game today. I used to be mentally focused on every play, every pitch. I got here prepared today to play a game.”